I Want to Eat Your Pancreas and Heroine Narratives

You don’t need to be overly-familiar with anime or manga to know that they tend to fawn over their female characters. For better or for worse, modern stories have an observable habit of leveraging "damaged" characters - typically girls and women - rather than letting them speak for themselves, and even stories that make a run at deconstructing this structure can still hit pitfalls.

The Power of Us and Antagonist-Free Action

I openly adore Pokémon. The series has maintained an overwhelmingly positive image for over twenty years running, and for the occasional flack that it gets for its parallels to cockfighting, the series has always been every bit as much about the childlike wonder of exploration, discovery, and collection. The franchise behaves the same across other media, too – including its annual movie releases.

Kimagure Orange Road and Secondhand Nostalgia

Nostalgia is such a weird idea. Parts of it are clearly tied to good memories of your own past, sure - it's the whole reason why people have comfort foods and hold onto familiar objects from their childhood like stuffed animals. Then there's a huge aspect of it that's not even tied to anything specific - even something similar to what we know can draw out that craved feeling of comfort. And, if you hit a sweet spot, you can get the same impression off something that's by all means outside of your own experience.

Monogatari Series and Level-Setting

Monogatari is fairly hard to recommend out-of-hand. It’s also not-so-secretly a personal favorite of mine. It has a broad and well-balanced cast, every single episode is a visual treat, and in retrospect the anime is possibly the most one-to-one adaptation of a source material I’ve ever seen that still manages to take advantage of its new medium. How those three things in particular reinforce one another is what makes Monogatari grab you and never let go.